So, as you all know, I’ve not been home in Scotland for a while now… 6 months actually, and, though my Australian adventure came with its highs as well as its lows, and being in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year was simply wonderful, the time to face reality and responsibility finally brought my travels skidding to a halt, and yesterday I made one final journey back to Bonnie Scotland.
(Now before you gals (and guys!) out there start booking your one-way tickets to the land of caber-tossing and whiskey, please note that men here do not walk around like this, as it is freezing here most of the time and they would all die of hypothermia.)
There was a mix-up with the flights that were booked, so, though my mum and brother were travelling on the same day as me, they got an earlier flight, so I had to make the journey home alone… which to be honest wasn’t the worst thing, because my mum is a very stress-inducing traveller, and going anywhere with her only ends in fights and me having a nervous breakdown because she’s asked me 697 times if I’ve got my passport.
I thought I’d drawn the lucky straw, because my flight was at night.
Night time flight = more time to get ready and sorted during the day (less stress) and also, overnight flights means you are so tired at the end of the day you fall straight to sleep anyway and the flight goes by quicker.
Winner winner chicken dinner… though my in-flight meal was a beef curry and it was truly delicious.
However, as it turns out. My mum and brother won.
Yes, they had an early afternoon flight, but it consisted of a massive 12- hour long stint followed by a teeny tiny 1 hour flight from Amsterdam. A total of 13 hours, give or take half an hour for getting off the plane etc. Easy. Time difference also meant that they got back to Scotland at around 7pm, got back to the house around 8pm, got their luggage sorted and put away, and were able to settle down for a sleep by 10. (Though they may have been affected by jet-lag, I haven’t asked them yet, and will update you all on if my brother survives his school day.**)
My journey was an 9 hour long flight from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi, followed shortly after by an 8 hour long flight to Edinburgh. Total of 17 hours, and I arrived this morning in Edinburgh at 6am, meaning if I wanted to be able to sleep through tonight, I’d have to stay awake all day. (I have been successful so far, and it’s currently 7:30pm- I have never been able to do this before.) I’d much rather have one long flight then a baby one and not just two long flights put together.
I mean, I know I might be being a tiny bit dramatic, but 4 extra hours being forced to sit down in a confined area is my worst nightmare. Long haul flights are not my favourite thing in the world, so knowing there was definitely a quicker way to get home did not make me a happy bunny.
To be fair, the first flight wasn’t all too bad. It was a relatively quiet one, so as soon as boarding had finished I was able to change my seat and have 2 seats next to the window to myself. This made stretching out and being able to come and go as I pleased without annoying anyone else all the more easier. One good thing about travelling with family is that you can sit in the window seat without the fear of needing to go to the toilet and having to ask a sleeping stranger to wake up and move for you.
I watched a couple of movies, read my book, had a nap lying down across the seats… bliss! (PS, if you’ve not watched Kingsman: The Golden Circle yet, I suggest you do. It starts off with a shaky bit of acting, but give it a chance and Elton John appears and makes it worth it.)
The second flight, however, seemed to drag on f o r e v e r.
It started off with someone taking my seat, mistaking it for his own (he sat down in 20K thinking it was 19K) and having to get out of the window seat to let me in. You have never known true fear until you have been the cause of the hold up of a line of people waiting to get to their seats on an airplane. Then, because of this kerfuffle, I was terrified that the man sitting next to me would hate me if I ever needed to get up and thus make him move again. Also I want to point out that I’m super clumsy, so even if the man didn’t dislike me at the start of the flight, he did at the end of the journey because I must have elbowed him about 27 times and kicked him by accident whilst moving around in my own seat trying to get comfortable.
Partway through the flight, just as I was going to go stretch my legs and go for a wee, we were hit by turbulence. I don’t think it was severe by any means, but, safety first of course, and we were asked to stay in our seats and fasten our seat belts for 45 minutes. Have you tried holding in a wee for that long? It is not comfortable.
When the turbulence eventually stopped and I was able to manoeuvre myself to the bathroom, I was ready to let my bladder go all over the aisle. I am ashamed to say that I saw a mum and her child head toward the bathroom as well and I barged past them (the child must’ve only been 3 or 4 years old) like they weren’t there and jumped into the toilet before they could get a chance to register what had happened. I felt like a dick, but at least I didn’t piss myself!
When I found myself settled back in my seat, I looked at the little screen in front of me, thinking there would be three, maybe four hours left in the journey, seeing as we’d been in the air for so long already. Nope. We still had five hours and fifty minutes. I could have cried! I’m not usually one for sitting about anyway, and I can confirm that by the end of the flight, my backside felt numb and flat from having been sat on for so long.
Before anyone gets all sassy and tells me I lie down for longer than that when I’m sleeping at night… I know. But it’s different when you’re awake and conscious. Your body wants to move about. It doesn’t want to be confined to a chair in a space where there isn’t even enough room to cross your legs or do the chicken dance (totally how you measure space btw.)
But you know, time passes. As it always does. No matter what happens to you in life, good or bad, time goes by and eventually you have to move on. And boy was I glad to be moving on from seat 20K. No more angry man next to me; no more limited area for me to move around in- I was free… To a certain extent, mind. I still had to go through border control and stuff.
So here I am, back in Scotland. I am once again in the world of haggis, neeps and tatties; kilts and bagpipes; caber tossing; and all the other stereotypically Scottish things you can think of which aren’t anywhere near as popular in our daily lives as foreigners think. *** Though give us credit for humouring you guys. I’ll never stop trying to convince people that our men walk around in a kilt with no underpants on every day, and that a haggis is actually a one legged mountain animal that must be very carefully hunted.
I’m glad to be back near my friends and family. The next step is actually doing a grown up thing for once in my life and finding a ‘real job’.
Wish me luck!
**I have been updated. My younger brother did in fact survive his school day but crashed out on the sofa as soon as he got home.
***one stereotypical thing that is true- it’s f****ng freezing here. Literally below zero degrees and snowing on my first day back. What a welcome home!